Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

Victory for TikTok and K-Pop as Donald Trump abandons online rally sign-ups

Donald Trump’s campaign abandoned online sign-ups for his latest support rally after the first one was spammed with fake entries by TikTok users.

The President held a ‘Students for Trump’ rally in Phoenix, Arizona yesterday but scrapped its online form for the event, telling supporters to just turn up.

It comes after only 6,200 people turned up for his first rally of the campaign on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to an arena which seats 19,200.

Less than one third of the arena was filled despite campaign chair Brad Parscale boasting he had issued more than 1,000,000 tickets to the rally.

The campaign privately admitted at least 300,000 of the million were fake, reports MailOnline, after Korean pop music (K-Pop) and TikTok influencers urged social media users to reserve seats despite having no intention of attending.

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There were an estimated 3,000 attendees at the rally in Phoenix yesterday in a tightly packed auditorium – where there were no temperature checks, social distancing or masks despite the coronavirus pandemic still causing huge numbers of deaths in the US.

Trump told the student crowd: ‘You’re fighting against an oppressive left-wing ideology. Our people are stronger and our people are smarter and we are the elite.

‘You’re smarter. You’re better looking. You have a better future.’

The Trump campaign has repeatedly claimed TikTok was unrelated to the turnout problem, which was reported to have left the president fuming.

At Saturday’s rally Trump claimed the empty seats were the result of ‘thugs’ outside.

It is unclear whether claims that the mass troll had ‘crowded out’ Trump supporters are true, or whether it was a simple lack of interest among his base which left seats empty.

But marketing and data experts said the removal of the online registrations for his rallies is a sign the spamming is continuing – and could have lasting effects for the President’s campaign.

The experts said the teenagers could cost the campaign massive amounts because instead of building a list of loyal Trump rally attendees to bombard with requests for donations, the campaign instead has a database polluted with fake accounts.

‘It’s a serious problem,’ said Joe Gagliese, co-founder of social media marketing firm Viral Nation. 

‘When you have an influx of a million people like that and they turn out to be fraudulent you have to figure out how you sift through to find the 25,000 or whatever number of genuine interest.

‘Breaking down a million data points to find who is an authentic follower in that scenario would be very difficult. The other option would be to send adverts to all of them, and then you’re paying to access people who you know obviously don’t support you which is a waste of money.’

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